Biochemistry

Degree Offered

Bachelor of Science

Nature of Program

The biochemistry curriculum prepares students for careers requiring a strong background in basic principles of the physical and life sciences. The program is a collaborative effort between the Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, and the Departments of Biology and Chemistry in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.

Students completing a biochemistry major are prepared for professional employment in the expanding fields of agricultural and environmental sciences, chemical industry, health-related industries and biotechnology-based industries. The curriculum provides students with the interdisciplinary background in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics and molecular biology necessary as preparation for professional schools of human and veterinary medicine, dentistry, optometry, and pharmacy. It also provides strong preparation for graduate study in fields such as animal and plant agriculture, biochemistry, biology, molecular biology, genetics, biotechnology, chemistry, food science, nutrition and physiology. The curriculum is modeled after the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biologists guidelines. The degree requirements for a American Chemical Society certified degree can be met within the framework of the program.

Performance Requirements

To maintain biochemistry major status and to graduate, students must maintain at least a 2.0 overall GPA and a 2.0 cumulative GPA in coursework in biology, chemistry, and biochemistry.

Minors

All students have the possibility of earning one or more minors; list of all available minors and their requirements. Please note that students may not earn a minor in their major field.

General Education FOUNDATIONS

Please use this link to view a list of courses that meet each GEF requirement.

NOTE: Some major requirements will fulfill specific GEF requirements. Please see the curriculum requirements listed below for details on which GEFs you will need to select.

General Education Foundations
F1 - Composition & Rhetoric3-6
Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric
and Composition, Rhetoric, and Research
Accelerated Academic Writing
F2A/F2B - Science & Technology4-6
F3 - Math & Quantitative Skills3-4
F4 - Society & Connections3
F5 - Human Inquiry & the Past3
F6 - The Arts & Creativity3
F7 - Global Studies & Diversity3
F8 - Focus (may be satisfied by completion of a minor, double major, or dual degree)9
Total Hours31-37

Curriculum Requirements

University Requirements19
First Year Seminar
GEF Requirements: number of credits will vary depending on overlap
Program Core Requirements5
Orientation to Biochemistry
Introductory Biochemistry (Minimum grade of C-)
Introduction to Biochemistry Wet Laboratory (Minimum grade of C-)
Biology Requirement15
Principles of Biology (Minimum grade of C-. May substitute BIOL 101-104)
Introductory Physiology (Minimum grade of C-)
The Living Cell (Minimum grade of C-)
Advanced Cellular/Molecular Biology
Chemistry Requirement28
Select one set (Minimum grade of C-):
Fundamentals of Chemistry
and Fundamentals of Chemistry
and Introductory Analytical Chemistry
or:
Principles of Chemistry
and Principles of Chemistry
and all of the following:
Organic Chemistry (Minimum grade of C-)
Organic Chemistry (Minimum grade of C-)
Organic Chemistry Laboratory (Minimum grade of C-)
Organic Chemistry Laboratory (Minimum grade of C-)
Physical Chemistry: Brief Course
Experimental Physical Chemistry
Biochemistry 2
Biochemistry 2 Laboratory
Mathematics and Statistics Requirement8
Minimum grade of C-
Calculus 1
Calculus 1a with Precalculus
and Calculus 1b with Precalculus
Calculus 2
STAT 211Elementary Statistical Inference3
A track is required.31
Number of credits may vary depending on courses selected
Biochemistry Electives
General Microbiology
Environmental Microbiology
Applied Water Microbiology
Soil Microbiology
Food Microbiology
Undergraduate Research Experience 1
Undergraduate Research Experience 2
Senior Thesis
Research
Honors
Nutritional Biochemistry
Nutritional Biochemistry Laboratory
Animal Biotechnology
Introduction to Animal Physiology
Growth and Lactation Physiology
Animal Physiology Laboratory
Physiology of Reproduction
Values and Ethics
Current Literature in Animal Science
Senior Thesis
Research
Biometry
Introduction to Virology
Molecular Basis of Cellular Growth
Molecular Genetics
and Molecular Genetics Laboratory
Cell Physiology
Neuroscience 1
Plant Physiology
Cell and Molecular Biology Methods
Introduction to Recombinant DNA
Molecular Endocrinology
Molecular Endocrinology-Laboratory
Epigenetics
Genomics
Biochemistry of Nucleic Acids and Proteins
Protein Structure and Function
Developmental Genetics
Molecular Biology of Cancer
Forensic Biology
General Animal Physiology
Comparative Anatomy
Vertebrate Microanatomy
Molecular Basis of Disease
Immunology
Senior Thesis
Research
Instrumental Analysis
Environmental Chemistry
Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry
Forensic Chemistry
Senior Thesis
Research
Mass Spectrometry Principles and Practices
Bioanalytical Chemistry
Biochemical Toxicology
Principles of Entomology
Pest Management
Food Microbiology
Food Microbiology Lab
Principles of Genetics
Advanced Nutrition
Medical Nutrition Therapy 1
Medical Nutrition Therapy 2
Plant Propagation
General Plant Pathology
Animal Pathology
Veterinary Anatomy
Parasitology
Capstone Requirement
ASBMB Track, select one of the following:
Undergraduate Research Experience 2
Values and Ethics
ACS Track, complete both of the following:
Chemical Literature
and Undergraduate Seminar
General Electives11
Number of electives may vary depending on course options selected
Total Hours120

American Chemical Society (ACS) Track

CHEM 310Instrumental Analysis3
CHEM 401Chemical Literature (Minimum grade of C-)1
CHEM 403Undergraduate Seminar1
CHEM 422Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry3
CHEM 497Research3
PHYS 111General Physics (Minimum grade of C-)4
PHYS 112General Physics (Minimum grade of C-)4
Biochemistry Electives (See list above)12
Total Hours31

Suggested Plan of Study for the American Chemical Society (ACS) Track

First Year
FallHoursSpringHours
WVUE 1911GEF 43
ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3BIOL 117 (GEF 8)4
AGBI 1991CHEM 116 (GEF 8)*4
BIOL 115 (GEF 2)4MATH 1564
CHEM 115 (GEF 8)*4 
MATH 155 (GEF 3)4 
 17 15
Second Year
FallHoursSpringHours
BIOL 2194ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3
CHEM 233
CHEM 235
4GEF 53
PHYS 1114BIOL 3103
STAT 2113CHEM 234
CHEM 236
4
 PHYS 1124
 15 17
Third Year
FallHoursSpringHours
GEF 63F 73
AGBI 410
AGBI 412
4CHEM 341
CHEM 342
4
CHEM 2154CHEM 462
CHEM 464
4
Biochemistry Elective 13General Elective3
 14 14
Fourth Year
FallHoursSpringHours
CHEM 401 (Capstone)1CHEM 3103
CHEM 4223CHEM 403 (Capstone)1
CHEM 4973Biochemistry Elective 33
Biochemistry Elective 23Biochemistry Elective 43
General Elective3General Elective3
General Elective2 
 15 13
Total credit hours: 120
*

Students may substitute CHEM 117 and 118 for CHEM 115, 116, and 215.

American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Track

AGBI 401Senior Seminar in Biochemistry1
AGBI 486Undergraduate Research Experience 22
or A&VS 402 Values and Ethics
BIOL 313Molecular Basis of Cellular Growth3
or BIOL 410 Cell and Molecular Biology Methods
BIOL 423Biochemistry of Nucleic Acids and Proteins3
Choose one of the following:8
Introductory Physics
and Introductory Physics
General Physics
and General Physics
Biochemistry Electives (see list above)14
Total Hours31

Suggested Plan of Study for the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Track

First Year
FallHoursSpringHours
WVUE 1911GEF 43
ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3BIOL 117 (GEF 8)4
AGBI 1991CHEM 116 (GEF 8)*4
BIOL 115 (GEF 2)4MATH 1564
CHEM 115 (GEF 8)*4 
MATH 155 (GEF 3)4 
 17 15
Second Year
FallHoursSpringHours
BIOL 2194ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3
CHEM 233
CHEM 235
4GEF 53
PHYS 1014BIOL 3103
STAT 2113CHEM 234
CHEM 236
4
 PHYS 1024
 15 17
Third Year
FallHoursSpringHours
GEF 63GEF 73
AGBI 410
AGBI 412
4BIOL 313 or 4103
CHEM 215*4CHEM 341
CHEM 342
4
Biochemistry Elective 13CHEM 462
CHEM 464
4
 14 14
Fourth Year
FallHoursSpringHours
BIOL 4233AGBI 4011
Biochemistry Elective 24Biochemistry Elective 44
Biochemistry Elective 33Capstone2
General Elective 3General Elective3
General Elective 2General Elective3
 15 13
Total credit hours: 120
*

Chem 117 and 118 may be substituted for Chem 115, 116, and 215.

Major Learning Goals

biochemistry

  1. Graduates will demonstrate a working knowledge of the basic sciences of biology, chemistry, mathematics and scientific methods.
  2. Graduates will demonstrate a working knowledge of biological mechanisms, including   biochemistry, biotechnology, functional genomic, nutrition, physiology and reproduction necessary for understanding of the disciplines.
  3. Graduates will demonstrate the ability to write and present scientific information.
  4. Graduates will demonstrate the ability to integrate knowledge and possess problem solving/critical thinking skills necessary for professional and social development and life-long learning and civic engagement.

Courses

AGBI 199. Orientation to Biochemistry. 1,2 Hour.

Orientation to degree programs and requirements, departmental resources, curriculum options, student responsibilities and opportunities.

AGBI 293A-Z. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

AGBI 298A-Z. Honors. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Students in Honors Program and consent by the honors director. Independent reading, study, or research.

AGBI 386. Undergraduate Research Experience 1. 1,2 Hour.

PR: At least sophomore standing and faculty permission. Students will write a research proposal, conduct supervised research, and write a progress report. This course is the first of a two-course sequence that leads to a research-based capstone experience. Students must also complete AGBI 486 for this to serve as the Biochemistry Capstone course.

AGBI 393A-Z. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

AGBI 401. Senior Seminar in Biochemistry. 1 Hour.

PR: Senior standing in biochemistry. Students select a topic at the forefront of biochemistry and gather information on the subject. Students then read, critically evaluate, write about the subject and present the topic in a seminar.

AGBI 410. Introductory Biochemistry. 3 Hours.

PR: 8 hours of General Chemistry and CHEM 231 or equivalent. Introduction to chemistry of cellular constituents (proteins, amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids, enzymes and coenzymes) and their metabolism in animals and plants.

AGBI 411. Introductory Biochemistry Laboratory. 1 Hour.

PR or CONC: AGBI 410. Experiments to demonstrate certain principles and properties of animal and plant biochemicals.

AGBI 412. Introduction to Biochemistry Wet Laboratory. 1 Hour.

PR or CONC:AGBI 410 or Consent. Classic and modern techniques in biochemistry.

AGBI 480. Assigned Topics. 1-4 Hours.

AGBI 486. Undergraduate Research Experience 2. 2-4 Hours.

PR: AGBI 386 and faculty permission. Continuation of a research-based Capstone Experience where students will conduct supervised research, present their research, and prepare a final report. This course is the second of a two-course research-based sequence and must be completed after AGBI 386 to count as the capstone experience.

AGBI 490. Teaching Practicum. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Teaching practice as a tutor or assistant.

AGBI 491. Professional Field Experience. 1-18 Hours.

PR: Consent. (May be repeated up to a maximum of 18 hours.) Prearranged experiential learning program, to be planned, supervised, and evaluated for credit by faculty and field supervisors. Involves temporary placement with public or private enterprise for professional competence development.

AGBI 492A-Z. Directed Study. 1-3 Hours.

Directed study, reading, and/or research.

AGBI 493A-Z. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

AGBI 494A-Z. Seminar. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Presentation and discussion of topics of mutual concern to students and faculty.

AGBI 495. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.

Faculty-supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

AGBI 496. Senior Thesis. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent.

AGBI 497. Research. 1-6 Hours.

Independent research projects.


Faculty

Animal and Nutritional Sciences Director

  • Robert L. Taylor - Ph.D. (Mississippi State University)
    Professor of Poultry Science, Animal physiology, Immunology

Biology Chair

  • Richard B. Thomas
    Professor of Physiological plant ecology, Forest ecology, Global climate change

Chemistry Chair

  • Kung Wang - Ph.D. (Purdue University)
    Eberly Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Organic chemistry, Stereoselective synthesis, Natural products

Professors

  • Ashok P. Bidwai - Ph.D.
    Molecular genetic analysis of protein kinase, CK2 in Drosophila
  • Kenneth P. Blemings - Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin)
    Dean of the Honors College, Protein and Amino Acid Metabolism
  • Jonathan R. Cumming - Ph.D. (Cornell University)
    Environmental plant physiology, Ecophysiology of root-mycorrhizal-soil interactions, Urban ecology
  • Robert A. Dailey - Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin)
    Reproductive physiology
  • Stephen DiFazio - Ph.D. (Oregon State University)
    Plant genomics, Molecular ecology, Plant population genetics, Biotechnology risk assessment
  • Harry O. Finklea - Ph.D. (California Institute of Technology)
    Analytical/physical chemistry, Electron transfer kinetics, Solid oxide fuel cells, Gas phase sensors
  • Terry Gullion - Ph.D. (William and Mary)
    Physical chemistry, Solid State NMR, Biological Materials, Polymers
  • Lisa A. Holland - Ph.D. (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)
    Analytical chemistry, Micro-separations, High-throughput drug screening
  • E. Keith Inskeep - Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin)
    Reproductive physiology
  • Jacek Jaczynski - Ph.D. (Oregon State University)
    Food Safety
  • Charles Jaffe - Ph.D. (University of Colorado)
    Theoretical chemistry, Molecular dynamics, Chaotic systems
  • P. Brett Kenney - Ph.D. (Kansas State University)
    Muscle protein functionality
  • Fred L. King - Ph.D. (University of Virginia)
    Analytical chemistry, Mass spectrometry, Trace elements, Gas-phase chemistry
  • Hillar Klandorf - Ph.D. (British Council for National Academic Awards)
    Oxidative stress and aging
  • Gerald E. Lang
    Plant ecology, Biogeochemistry, Wetland ecology
  • James B. McGraw
    Plant ecology: Evolutionary ecology of perennial plants, Conservation biology, Demography, Forest remote sensing
  • Joseph S. Moritz - Ph.D. (Kansas State University)
    Effect of feed form on animal performance
  • John H. Penn - Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
    Chemical education, On-line instruction methods in organic chemistry
  • Jeffrey L. Petersen - Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
    Associate Chairperson, Chemistry; Physical inorganic chemistry, Electrophilic transition metal complexes, X-ray crystallography
  • Kenneth Showalter - Ph.D. (University of Colorado)
    Bennett Distinguished Professor, physical chemistry, Chemical kinetics, Multi-stability and oscillating chemical systems
  • Bjorn Soderberg - Ph.D. (Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden)
    Organic synthesis using transition metals
  • Janet C. L. Tou - Ph.D. (University of Toronto)
    Human nutrition and foods
  • Jianbo Yao - Ph.D. (McGill University)
    Functional genomics

Associate Professors

  • Kimberly M. Barnes - Ph.D. (University of Nebraska)
    Curriculum committee chair, Intercollegiate Undergraduate Program in Biochemistry; Lipid metabolism
  • Suzanne Bell - Ph.D. (University New Mexico)
    Analytical chemistry, Forensic science
  • Clifton P. Bishop - Ph.D. (University of Virginia)
    Molecular genetics, Developmental biology, Forensic biology
  • Jonathan Boyd - Ph.D. (Texas Tech University)
    Analytical biochemistry and toxicology
  • Kevin C. Daly - Ph.D. (University of Arizona)
    Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, Biology; Sensory neurobiology, Neural coding, Brain-behavior interactions, Comparative psycho-biology
  • Sarah M. Farris - Ph.D. (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
    Evolution and development of the insect brain, Neuroanatomy
  • Eugene E. Felton - Ph.D. (University of Missouri)
    Ruminant nutrition
  • Glen Jackson - Ph.D. (West Virginia University)
    Mass spectrometry, forensic chemistry
  • Marlon Knights - Ph.D. (West Virginia University)
    Reproductive physiology
  • K. Marie Krause - Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin)
    Dairy science nutrition
  • Justin Legleiter - Ph.D. (Carnegie Mellon University)
    Biophysical chemistry, Atomic force microscopy
  • Kristen Matak - Ph.D. (Virginia Tech)
    Food science and human nutrition
  • William T. Peterjohn
    Ecosystem ecology: Effects of global change on ecosystem dynamics, Nitrogen cycling in natural ecosystems.
  • Michelle Richards-Babb - Ph.D. (Lehigh University)
    Office of Undergraduate Research; Chemical education
  • Rita V.M. Rio - Ph.D. (Yale University)
    Symbioses
  • Alan M. Stolzenberg - Ph.D. (Stanford University)
    Inorganic chemistry, Bio-inorganic chemistry, Organometallic chemistry
  • Michelle D. Withers - Ph.D. (University of Arizona)
    Biology education, Neurobiology

Clinical Associate Professors

  • Donna Ford-Werntz - Ph.D. (Washington University/Missouri Botanical Garden)
    Plant systematics: Portulacaceae, West Virginia flora

Teaching Associate Professors

  • Erin Battin - Ph.D. (Clemson University)
    Bio-inorganic chemistry
  • Megan Govidan - M.P.H., M.S., R.D. (West Virginia University)
    Human nutrition and foods
  • Margaret A. Minch - D.V.M. (The Ohio State University)
    Veterinary medicine
  • Betsy Ratcliff - Ph.D. (University of Binghamton-SUNY)
    Physical chemistry
  • Jennifer Stueckle - Ph.D. (West Virginia University)
    Aquatic toxicology
  • Mingming Xu - Ph.D. (Ohio University)
    Analytical chemistry

Assistant professors

  • Scott Bowdridge - Ph.D. (Virginia Tech)
    Veterinary immunology
  • Andrew Dacks - Ph.D. (University of Arizona)
    Neurobiology
  • Fabien Goulay - Ph.D. (University of Rennes, France)
    Physical chemistry, Laser spectroscopy
  • Jennifer Hawkins
    Plant comparative genomics, Molecular evolution
  • Jessica Hoover - Ph.D. (University of Washington)
    Organometallics chemistry, Catalysis
  • Melissa Marra - Ph.D., R.D. (Florida International University)
    Healthy aging and nutritional prevention of chronic disease
  • Joseph W. McFadden - Ph.D. (Virginia Tech)
    Lipid metabolism and metabolomics
  • Blake Mertz - Ph.D. (Iowa State University)
    Computational biophysics and chemistry
  • Melissa Olfert - Ph.D., M.S., R.D. (Loma Linda University)
    Health and wellness
  • Brian Popp - Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
    Organic and organometallic chemistry, Catalysis
  • Stephen Valentine - Ph.D. (Indiana University)
    Mass spectrometric analysis of biomolecules
  • Shuo Wei - Ph.D. (University of Miami)
    Development of the nervous system

Teaching Assistant Professors

  • Kevin Barry - Ph.D. (University of Maryland
  • Laura Christian - Ph.D. (The University of Texas at Austin)
  • Dana Huebert-Lima - Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
    Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies, Biology; Epigenetics
  • Kevin Lee
    Virology, Cell and molecular biology methods
  • Joshua Osbourn - Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh)
    Organic chemistry
  • Stephanie T. Young - Ph.D. (West Virginia University)
    Molecular and Forensic Biology

Senior Lecturers

  • Sue Raylman - Ph.D.
    Animal behavior
  • Mark Schraf - M.S. (West Virginia University)
    Analytical chemistry
  • Susan Studlar
    Bryology and botany
  • Beth Thomas - M.S. (Clemson University)
    Invertebrate zoology

Professors Emeriti

  • Charles H. Baer
  • David F. Blaydes
  • Roy B. Clarkson
  • William E. Collins
  • Dorothy C. Dunning
  • Jorge A. Flores - Ph.D. (The George Washington)
    Animal physiology, endocrinology of reproduction
  • Ramsey H. Frist
  • Roland B. Guthrie
  • Philip E. Keeting
    Molecular endocrinology, Cancer biology
  • Denis W. H. MacDowell - Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
    Organic chemistry
  • Joseph A. Marshall
  • Ethel C. Montiegel
  • Robert S. Nakon - Ph.D. (Texas A&M University)
    Inorganic chemistry
  • Richard P. Sutter
  • Leah A. Williams
  • Anthony Winston - Ph.D. (Duke University)
    Polymer chemistry